New club promotes unity in the Poet community

Ty Lopez

There are many opportunities for students here at Whittier to become more involved on campus, from work-study jobs, societies and clubs to student-government. Poets can pick from a variety of organizations that suit their interests. 

The new t-shirt logo for Community Unity on display

The new t-shirt logo for Community Unity on display

At times, the decision of who or what to join can be daunting. However, many students have been looking to service the greater Californian community while retaining the inclusiveness of a Whittier-based club. 

If this is you, look no further: set down those textbooks and join the Community Unity Club, founded by President Kasey Vedder and Vice President Maggie Niemann, both juniors. 

Vedder and Niemann first met in one of Professor of Religious Studies Jake Carbine’s Buddhism classes. The two quickly became friends and became motivated to create a new organization. “The idea of our club was sparked from an incident that happened last year, and we just wanted to feel normal back at school,” Niemann said. “A lot of things happened: the passing of Margo, the shooter on campus; our campus went through a difficult time and we wanted to find something that was important to us: bringing the school back together and doing something for the community.”

The club hopes to unify many of the separate organizations that make up the Whittier community through outreach programs, fostering a tighter knit community that is focused less on the bureaucracy and more on the issues at hand. “We want our community to feel closer, and we don’t want people to feel excluded,” Vedder said. “We want people to come to our meetings and voice their opinions, but ultimately, service and events should take the forefront.” 

Community Unity hopes to serve as a concierge of sorts for the various clubs and students at Whittier, offering opportunities to volunteer and give back wherever possible. Many Societies here at the college have a volunteering component for their members and may thus find the new club a valuable resource. The founders expressed the importance of self-determination, as members are not held to a stringent schedule or ordered to perform specific tasks rather, members take time out of their own schedules when they want to. At its crux, the club simply wants to help others. A member of Community Unity, junior Maeve Bell commented, “I like that it’s laid back and very welcoming. It’s just a good energy. I like helping people and I like being around others that want to help people.”

Community Unity attempts to deal with relevant issues while offering a variety of volunteer opportunities. “We’ll plant trees and educate individuals about sustainable environmental practices, go over to the women’s center, take care of the homeless and head over to the soup kitchens or make packages for veterans,” Vedder said.     

Niemann added: “There’ll be beach cleanup days or whatever is relevant in the moment. On Thursday, [Oct. 6], we are going to have a voter registration table to get people signed up to vote! The whole point of the Community Unity aspect is to engage our club members and engage the campus — like, what does everyone want to do?”

The club meets on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. in the Hartley House for those interested in joining. Their Instagram page can be reached at community.unity and both Vedder and Niemann hope to attract new members to their movement. What does their movement stand for? When posed the question, Vedder and Niemann smiled before replying: “Peace, love and unity.” That’s something everyone can get behind.